Monday, January 31, 2011

Norman Rockwell Busted My Clutch Cable

I discovered that in an emergency, you can shift a Royal Enfield without using the clutch... if you can avoid coming to a complete stop.

This weekend was the last day for the Norman Rockwell Exhibit at the local museum of art. As an artist myself, I've admired Rockwell's idyllic take on happy childhoods and commonplace adult life. I got a little emotional feeling a reverence for seeing these treasures in person. In a sea of cardigan sweaters and polyester slacks, the only guy in a leather jacket, rigid Levis and engineer boots quickly composed himself and moved on.

I rode the 45 minutes to the museum in sunny, Rockwellian weather (60 degrees is nice for January), but on the way home my clutch cable snapped. I guess after 6000 miles of commuting it was time. Turns out, if I could keep rolling I could shift up and down without the clutch. Just goose the gas to shift up, hold on when shifting down, pray for no intersecting traffic, and be prepared to roll through stop signs and lane-split. On Enfields, a clutch cable is a cheap and easy fix.

Rockwell once said, 

"When I go to farms or little towns, I am always surprised at the discontent I find. And New York, too often, has looked across the sea toward Europe. And all of us who turn our eyes away from what we have are missing life."

"Going and Coming" by Norman Rockwell
This was my family's 2010 Christmas card, which features our 1961 Ford pickup. You could say the card was inspired by the above Rockwell painting titled "Going and Coming."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's Better In The Wind

It's Better In The Wind - 2011 Trailer 2 from Scott Toepfer on Vimeo.

Ready to be jealous? What if you were free from all cares and could take off on your bike at any time, in perfect weather, to any destination. That's the what the upcoming independent film titled, "It's Better In The Wind" looks like. I interviewed L.A.-based photographer Scott G. Toepfer, who filmed, edited and experienced these escapes of freedom on location during various cross country rides throughout the Western US.

You'll see some Triumph bikes both bobbed and cafe racer style. As Scott tells it,
 "The film is just as much about 'getting away' as it is about motorcycles. The riders aren't exactly featured, it's a group of guys riding and camping and leaving LA as often as possible. The group tends to hover around 4-6 guys, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the ride."

There was an accompanying book released in 2010 of the same title (Now sold out). Be sure to check out the other teasers for the film on Scott's Vimeo page.

Scott continues, "As for the bikes, there are a couple of modern Triumphs, a couple old Hondas, and my bike is currently a Yamaha xs650. We occasionally cruise with a couple chopper guys on old Harley's, and I think the film will include some footage of them as well. I try not to discriminate too often. The Triumphs tend to take precedence because they are the guys that I am closest with, and have a certain regularity when we go out and shoot. A couple of the bikes are very custom, and a couple are pretty stock. Samson really only rides Japanese stock restoration bikes, which are beautiful. Myself and the Triumph guys tend to be a bit more on the customization side of things."

I'm looking forward to this one. In talking with him, the talented Mr. Toepfer seems to be a genuine guy who loves what he does and shares what he loves.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

F.Y.B.O. 2011 photos

FYBO indeed! Her Majesty's Thunder is now a regular sponsor of the event with t-shirt giveaways and shop rag swag. It was just 29 degrees when I headed out last Saturday morning to the Freeze Your Balls Off event in Durham, NC. I had about a 40 minute ride ahead of me, but my snowballs were plenty bundled. This was a personal new record for cold riding - previously, 36 degrees was my lowest. I met up with Daniel from Fistful of Choppers along the way which was great - a cool guy (even when it's warmer).

The event is put on by the Incriminators Scooter club at the Fullsteam Brewery there in Durham, NC. Not as many people attended as in 2010 (heck is was 25 degrees warmer) but there were still plenty of scooters and a few motorcycles. The TonUpNC guys were there and they led the hour-long country ride when the temp was still only about 40. There was still ice on the ground in some areas but the roads were mostly clear. The Moped Army of seven showed up to swarm and destroy which was great if not smileworthy. With the noise coming from around the corner, I was sure the junior Shriners were coming. Nice to see more custom two-wheelers anyway.

I'll definitely go again next year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

RockerBox Photos

H.M.T. has been invited to Rockerbox in August 2011 in Milwaukee, WI. It's not your typical gray-bearded Harley crowd, more of a younger, rockabilly vibe with lots of cafe racers and British influence. While we decide if we can make the trip, Here are some photos of the event. Lots more from JohnnyFixedGear, cjfoekler, and frankphoto.

Made Like A Gun

A great old booklet has been made available online that tells the story of Royal Enfield's contribution to the British war effort between 1939-1945. Cool photos of factory work and an interesting look into underground factory life. Via Jorge Pullin and David Blasco.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thunder Agents!

I love the name, and the Thunder kids seem to be attracting a lot of high-caliber attention on that 1967 sidehack.  Wait, they're from the "United Nations?" No wonder Spider Man is shooting at them.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

1972 Triumph Tiger Bobber

Cool custom Triumph By J Ryan. More of the bikes he's built can be seen on JRYChops at the site formerly known as MySpace.  It sounds great and those black rims are the business! I like the toolbox detail made from an antique fire extinguisher too.

Monday, January 3, 2011

FYBO: Jan 14-16, 2011, Durham, NC, USA

Bundle up those snowballs. F.Y.B.O. is here again and H.M.T. is a proud sponsor. Average high temp for Durham, NC on January 15 is 56 degrees. Definitely not freezing any extremities at that point, which is fine with me!
There will be a 60-100 mile Ton-Up Country Ride Out on Saturday at 1PM sharp. Location TBA. More info on the site. Here are some photos I shot from F.Y.B.O. 2010...

Freeze Your Balls Off in Durham, NC, January 14-16, 2011

Meet Patrick Hogan: 60s British Cafe Racer

1937 BSA 750 Twin
New Year's eve afternoon weather was finally warmer than freezing so I snuck out for a ride. I visited Rex Floyd at his shop and met a new friend, Patrick Hogan. Patrick was an original British cafe racer from the 60's who spent Friday nights racing with his mates from the Ace Cafe to the Busy Bee and back on a 1937 BSA 750 Twin. Here's how he tells it:

"My dad died when I was five so I grew up with mum who wasn't very wealthy. When I asked for my first motorcycle most kids were getting Triumph Tiger Cubs. I had one all lined up, used of course, but my mum waited too long so I got a used BSA Bantam 125 instead. I really wanted the Triumph!

"When I got a little older I found a beat up 1937 BSA 750 V-Twin for about 5 quid. I had to pull it down out of the fellow's rafters. It had girder forks, rigid rear end and a car tire on the back. It also used to have a side car.

I had trouble with one of the carbs so I only ran it on one cylinder making it a 350. One day my mate helped me fix it so it changed from a 350 to a 750 in an instant. What a difference!"